Ok, we know what we are trying to do, what are the tools to actually do it? How can we actually turn the raw materials into a celebration? In this chapter, we will provide some explicit tools that you can use for promoting celebration in the close.
The first tool to construct a sermonic close is for you, the preacher, to become the actor in the sermon. I mean you are the one who acts. You are the one who is doing what the sermon calls you to do.
This can be helpful when you have a controlling metaphor for your whole sermon. These sermons, that you can become the actor in, should ask the people to do something or promote something.
The preacher becomes the chief “obey-er” of the message. I have a couple of examples here:
So now you have the ingredients. There are a few things that we will repeat that you must have for a powerful celebration. Some of these are repeated in what we have seen before. Here are the things I assume you will to ensure a powerful close.
Remember when you put together your sermon conclusion that you are attempting to address the emotive primarily and
not the intellectual. This is not to ignore the intellectual, just that the close is not about that, it is about an emotive celebration.
When you bake a cake, you have to have the right ingredients. Well, when you are putting together a sermon close, you need the right ingredients as well.
Now, what can we use when we put together a sermon close? What is the material that we can use in constructing these celebrative moves at the end of our sermon? What is celebrative material?
Well, celebrative material is material that can help you and your people to emotionally experience the truth of the message. What are some of these raw materials that we can combine and mix to create a powerful close?
That is what this chapter is about. I am going to give you a number of resources, in no particular order, that you should intentionally examine and explore when putting together your sermon closes.
When you are putting together your sermon especially your sermon close, attemp to find hymns that are related to your points. Grab a hymnal and look up your text in the textual reference.
So what is the key to having a solid ending? I think it is one simple word, Celebration. Let me say that again, “Celebration is the key to closing your sermon with power. Now in later chapters, I will write about how to do that, but if there is only one thing you get from the book, it is you need to celebrate the gospel message that you presented in your sermon to have a powerful close.
What is celebration? Here is one definition of celebration within the context of preaching,
Celebration is holding up the intellectual truth of the message for a response from the emotional and spiritual dimensions of humanity.
Look closely at that statement. First you must have presented “intellectual truth” to have celebration. People are not celebrating or yelling about nothing. No, they are celebrating the truth.
Another point is that the celebration is related to the truth OF the message. In other words it is truth that you presented in the message. I am not talking about you bringing in something to shout about at the end of the message that is not related to the message at all.
To be blunt, I am not talking about shouting “EEEAAARRRLLLYYY Sunday morning” at the end of a sermon just to get a shout when it isn’t related to the truth of the message.
How do you end a sermon with power? You are asking this because innately you understand that no matter how well you preach the sermon, ending well is very important.
But before you end a sermon powerfully, you must have a few pre-requisites. So what are these?
One of these things you must have to end a sermon well is to engage in Solid Exegesis. There are a number of ways to exegete the text, and you can even read my white paper “Four waves of exegesis” for my approach to this.